The work and love of Christ!
Read Romans 8:31-39
Finishing off one of the greatest chapters in all of scripture we pick it up in verse 31. Here we find a summary of the chapter, and potentially of the whole book so far. We have seen Paul build a case and we are now concluding this case through the work and love of Christ!
Chapters 1-3 - All have sinned and are justified through faith in Jesus
Chapter 4 - Expecting resistance, we see Paul use Abraham as an illustration. He was counted as righteous by faith, before he was circumcised.
Chapter 5 - Christ died and like sin that entered the world through one man - Adam, so has God's grace - through Jesus.
Chapter 6 - Expecting more resistance, Paul asks if we should therefore continue to sin. No, the wages of sin are death.
Chapter 7 - The Law defines and reveals sin, but you can't be saved through the Law. Only by looking outside ourselves - towards Christ, can we be reconciled.
Chapter 8 so far - the Law of the Spirit has set us free. We are children of God, co-heirs with Christ. Nothing can separate us from the love of God.
These closing verses can be summarised in four words, "God is for us". We see this in a form that can give us an opportunity to discuss this statement because it's been put forward as a question:
If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31b)
This is not saying we won't experience opposition, in fact Paul has pointed out this in Romans 5:3-4 and 8:17-18, but with God on our side, it does not matter!
Paul then breaks up His point (v32). It is seen as finished with the giving of Jesus, His Son. Gives us 'all things' (concept raised in 8:28) and includes the final glory and the everything to that final glory.
Verses 33-34 use a lot of courtroom language, where we are the defendant. Satan is bringing up all the sins against us as evidence of our guilt. And we have nowhere to look or hide. It is all true. But the prosecutor won't win, because we have been justified. That is, we have been found not guilty. And this can never be reversed! No one can successfully condemn us because Christ died and has been raised to life to be our intercessor.
He who vindicates me is near. Who then will bring charges against me? Let us face each other! Who is my accuser? Let him confront me! It is the Sovereign Lord who helps me. Who will condemn me? (Isaiah 50:8-9a)
Paul then raises another question for us to ponder. Verse 35, who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Here we see the idea of love introduced. He not only defends you in the final judgement (in court), but He also loves us. Through this love, He enters into a relationship with you. A relationship that we can not be separated from!
Paul lists hardships that would break most relationships, but not ours with God. God's love is stronger. This is Paul's own testimony. Many of the things listed here (trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword) happened to Paul, yet God had been faithful to him throughout.
Paul then quotes Psalm 44:22
Yet for your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered. (Psalm 44:22)
This tells us that suffering is natural and an expected part of the Christian life. It also links us as Christians to the Old Testament Covenant people. We are God's people. Linking back to the truth that God's Holy people now include Gentiles - Jew and Gentile.
Now, despite all this, we are 'more than conquerors'. How can we have more than a triumph? It's like saying 110% in sports. The max is always 100%, how can we have more? The point is to emphasize the assurance we have in Christ's victory. It also shows the grandeur of that victory! It is a celebration. Then we see the size of that victory through comparisons; death nor life, Angels nor demands, present nor future, nor any powers. Talking all things spiritual. Height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation. Talking all things physical! Links back to the beginning that we have no condemnation, and now closing out that we can not be separated from that blessing!
Now we have no separation from the love of Christ!